Category: Uncategorized

fire it up!

summer is arriving in most places around the country (in some cases it is just warmer nasty weather) and some of us are

grilling goons

jim, do you have any idea how to grill? nope-none at all!

thinking about grilling/bbq-ing meats outside… well, at least i know i am!  burgers, ribs, steaks, pizzas, chicken, seafood… i am ready!

here’s a link to a great article about marinades – how they work, why they may/may not work and how to make sure yours creates the desired effect.

here’s one of my favorite marinades to mix in on steaks (rib-eye, tenderloin, flank, flat iron, tri-tip… the more marbled, the better):

Here’s what you need for four 10 oz rib-eyes:

  • 1 big gallon sized ziploc bag
  • 4 ten ounce rib-eyes
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves, smashed then diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh rosemary chopped roughly
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme (leaves only)
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

i want a bite of that!

in a large mixing bowl, whisk together all ingredients .  Add steaks and cover them sufficiently (depending on thickness of steaks, you may need to add more vinegar & oil – do so at a 2:1 vinegar to oil ratio).  Place steaks and extra marinade in ziploc, and let sit for 60 minutes to 24 hours.  if you’re not cooking the steaks within 2 hours of marinating, you’ll want to refrigerate them.  in his article, craig g. said not to use olive oil, as it tends to solidify when chilled. you can use one of the other oils he recommends (corn, canola, peanut)-i have never tried one of those, so i cannot guarantee the flavor will work out right, but i trust this guy and will be trying that next time around. one key thing, if you refrigerate the marinating meat is to pull the steaks out of the fridge 2 or so hours prior to grilling- i do this to get the meat up to room temperature, which means you can get the center of your meat to a desirable temperature more quickly than than if you pull them straight out from fridge to grill.

i generally accompany this with a green salad, some grilled asparagus and a good bottle of cabernet or shiraz.  give it a try and let me know how it turns out!

let's eat!

let's eat!

and tell me, what is your favorite marinade?

weak sauce…

sauce. everyone likes sauce of some sort. chocolate sauce. barbecue sauce. hot wing sauce. cocktail sauce, picante sauce. nacho cheese sauce… you name the sauce and someone will like it. they’ll love it.

nacho cheese sauce

nacho cheese sauce

think of the first time you had ketchup… can’t remember?  for most kids, ketchup is that gateway drug… i mean first intro to what sauce is and what it can be.  ketchup was just the right mixture of tomato paste, high fructose corn syrup, vinegar, salt and partially hydrogenated soybean oil in just the right bottle, poured out just the right way to make EVERYTHING taste better–from eggs to french fries to hot dogs, burgers to broccoli to lamb, to meatloaf…doesn’t taste good? just add ketchup and everything tastes fine..

i say most kids, because i was not one of those who survived on ketchup–in fact, i hated it. hated it so much, that at one point i rated it on my top 3 hate list with bees and german shepherds (two things that had traumatized me… fodder for future blog posts).  for some reason, i just didn’t like it.

this is not weak sauce

this is not weak sauce (click pic to read more from the oatmeal)

one fateful day in second grade, we were in our classroom, eating lunch (my grade school didn’t have a lunch room – we’d just sit at our desks & eat). i was a “bring lunch from home” kind of guy, and the boy whose desk was facing mine was eating his hot dog or whatever piece of sodium nitrate goodness they passed out that day.  in the corner of my eye, i could tell the guy was struggling with something. he was yanking and pulling and pushing something to the point of groaning aloud.  then, just as i had turned and seen what it was he was wrestling with there was an audible short, “pfffft” sound and in slow motion i could see the entire contents of that ketchup packet hurtling across the space of our  two  desks –it all happened so fast…the struggle, the “pfffft,” the red blur speeding straight at me… i couldn’t move, like a deer caught in headlights… and BAM! it hit me in the left eye and splattered all across my face.  renee, the girl sitting next to me screamed as i’m sure it looked like i was bleeding profusely from my eye.

then the smell. and worse, the taste of ketchup — plain ketchup– in my mouth. it was okay on a burger every now & then, but plain? involuntarily cast into the taste buds on my tongue?  i gagged a couple of times but didn’t cry (which is a big deal in 2nd grade) and believe it or not, i survived. i went to the bathroom, rinsed my face & mouth — strangely, all the ketchup was contained upon my face – none on my shirt, nothing anywhere but on my face.  crazy. (incidentally i’ve seen this phenomenon one other time in my life – about 6-7 years after that, my family was in a m*donalds in lacey, wa where my brother was sitting at a table squeezing a ketchup packet and “pfffft” the entire contents projectiled onto one of the styrofoam ceiling tiles – i think –eric will have to correct me if i’m wrong– it even eluded a lower hanging ceiling fan…).

so, i share this story to say that my lack of blog entries over the past 8-9 months is completely “weak sauce.”  i have at least 8 maybe 9 drafts started, but nothing that i’ve finished.  i hope to do better from here on out… cheers!  (thanks to the for some sriracha humor)


last week i was reflecting on the date, august ninth, two thousand ten… 

i saw a tweet where someone (more clever & witty than i) suggested doing something special at 5:06:07 of 08/09/10…  or at 11:12:13… oh, the fun of numbers and dates… looking forward to 10/10/10? 

thirty-five years earlier on 08/09/75, i stood on the southern shore of lake sammamish at sambica – a christian camp in the pacific northwest – waiting to be baptized.  it was a typical seattle area summer day – rainy. pastor med broussard joked that we were covering both bases that day – sprinkling & immersion (preacher humor…you gotta love it). 

i had been going to church for as long as i could remember and really wanted to take communion, but had been told i couldn’t until i had been baptized.  three years earlier, i had “decided to follow jesus” about halfway through our church’s showing of the film a thief in the night (an early seventies, rapture/apocalyptic film where someone who doesn’t take their faith as seriously as she should have gets “left behind.” (whenever i hear an electric razor buzzing in a bathroom i still look up into the sky…) 

at that point in my church going “career” i understood that people who accepted jesus into their hearts went to heaven, and people who didn’t, like bad king saul, annanias & sapphira, and the king who built the big golden statue of himself and threw daniel into the lion’s den were all going to hell (being a five-year-old in a baptist church, i had learned my eschatology early on). despite all that, up to the evening we watched the film, hell was more attractive to me than the alternative of accepting jesus during sunday school. 

Are we already in the rapture?

This Film Scared the Hell out of a 5 yr old...

(in subsequent years, having advised children’s ministries leaders, sunday school teachers, and having taught 5 year olds in sunday school myself, i know what a joy it is when you have the privilege to witness and see the pieces fit together for a kid who understands what it means to make a decision to follow christ.  but as an adult, you can’t always comprehend the logic of a kid who has only been around for 60 months.) 

in my 5yr old class at crossroads baptist church, somewhere in between singing (10 & 9, 8 & 7, 6 & 5 & 4, call upon the savior while you may…) and games (Who can be the first to find and read…psalm 35:16?!), an invitation would be given to accept jesus into your heart, and if you were to say the prayer and accept jesus right there, our teacher (a woman of great faith and even greater girth) would instantaneously turn into a crying, blubbery mess of running mascara, bolt  from her seat as fast as she could and give you a hug that would encapsulate your entire 5 year old body.  just the thought of her waddling over to me as fast as she could was more frightening to me than the prospect of an eternity separated from our creator. 

so that night, watching the film, i recognized that, as my pal rusty and i munched on popcorn, if the rapture happened during the film, my mom & dad would be taken up into glory with jesus, but i’d be left in the auditorium. i leaned over to rusty and asked if he’d accepted jesus and received “the hug” – he said he had done the deed at home a few weeks prior…and no hug. 

wow, so rusty would be gone too and i’d be trying to figure out who was going to drive me home, who would make me dinner, take me to soccer practice, etc… i realized i would be alone.  its not hot, but that seemed pretty hellish to me at the time.  i had no choice but to ask god to come into my life.  as a 5yr old, i recognized god was after me and that i would be praying this at some point, and since my sunday school teacher was nowhere in sight, i felt it was safe to move ahead with the prayer. i looked up at the top of the auditorium and said the prayer i’d memorized (i’d heard it so many times) and waited for a flash, a feeling of warmth, of peace, of…anything… but the film played on, and i watched with less apprehension because i wouldn’t have to worry about the ride home… 

i wiped my rain-soaked forehead and i was up next in line to be immersed in the lake sammamish water and wondered exactly what exactly being baptized meant – i had already accepted jesus (so i had the pending rapture covered) so was it just so i could have communion (super doctrine right there, “only people who have been baptized could partake of the lord’s supper”)? was it so i could be like jesus and begin my ministry (as a 5-year-old living in the seattle area, i had my work cut out for me)? or was it to be first in line for the snacks after the baptism service was over? my almost 9-year-old mind was really chewing on this because i understood that jesus was led into the wilderness, and was tempted by the devil after his baptism.  was i going to be fed rocks? rushed up to the spire of the church?  nah, they didn’t do that kind of stuff any more did they? but wait, this wasn’t a river, its a lake, is this going to take? 

as i came up out of the water in pastor med’s arms, i was relieved not to see a dove descending (between the raindrops i saw my seattle seahawks quarterback hero – jim zorn there, who shook my hand and said, “god bless you.” still no flashes, no warmth, no physical sensation other than the fact that i had done it.  but my mind was racing. 

35 years later, i recall the bits and pieces of that day – at times it seems a bit surreal – baptizing an 8-year-old who saw this as the only way to get a wafer and an oz of grape juice at church one sunday a month – at other times it seems amazing that i understood that jesus began his ministry after his baptism and that god declared his pleasure in his son’s act . and at all times it gives me grace for others and the mixed bag of motives we humans carry into just about every situation and decision we make. thank you god for helping me to see the depth and process there, and not discounting it as some stupid thing i did as a kid and didn’t understand ( i get why people get re-baptized, but believe it isn’t us doing the work in baptism & see that its part of the process of god’s call on our lives, but that’s a whole other blog entry).  

then i look at my boys and wonder what stories they’ll share about how their parents’ church messed with their heads and how god’s grace met them in their story in the midst of it all and they chose to follow him… 8/16/10…jre